A Narrative inquiry into private English language institution non-NES teachers’ identities in Indonesia
: Journeys of becoming English teachers

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teacher identity as an area of research within the field of English language teaching has been investigated through two main perspective: psychology (Oyserman, Elmore, & Smith, 2012; Sampson, 2016; Wetherell, 2009) and socio-cultural and political (Beauchamp et al., 2017; Benson & Cooker, 2013; Darvin & Norton, 2015; Morgan, 2016; Norton & Toohey, 2011). However, these studies were mostly conducted within the context of formal education settings, such as at schools and universities thus limits our understanding about teacher’s identity to only within the formal education setting. Therefore, this study aims to broaden the discussion about the construction of non-native English speaker teachers’ (non-NESTs) identities by investigating the identity construction of 25 non-NESTs at six private English language institutions (PELIs) in Indonesia. Moreover, instead of attempting to label teachers as motivators, facilitators, managers, or informants, like has been done in many studies, the present study seeks to understand the construction of teacher’s identity from their habitus, investment, and trajectories as English learners, speakers and teachers. In addition, the study examines the role of PELIs as a learning space where the participants develop their habitus through learning from other teachers at their PELI. Conducted as a narrative inquiry, this study employed in-depth biographical interviews as the main data collection strategy. In addition, it also utilized class and site observations and document analysis to gain initial information which was used to generate some questions for the interviews, to understand the context in which they teach, and to provide evidence of their habitus. The data was analysed using narrative and thematic analysis and the findings were presented in two formats: reconstruction of nine focus participants’ narratives and exposition of the common themes found in all of the narratives. The narratives illustrate the participants’ journey of becoming English learners, speakers, and teachers. Throughout their journeys, the participants developed unique forms of habitus which were shaped by their social-economic status and their memberships in communities of practice (CoP). The thematic analysis reveals the interconnections of investment, trajectories and habitus in shaping the participants’ identities as non-NESTs. The participants’ trajectories direct their investment which resulted in the construction of a habitus. It also shows the role of CoP as a learning space of becoming teachers through participating in trainings and seminars and in their daily interactions with other members of the CoP. Finally, this study argues for an holistic view of understanding non-NESTs identities which emphasizes the roles of teacher’s learning experiences as formative stages of their professional identities.
Date of Award24 Jun 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorFrances Giampapa (Supervisor) & Angeline M Barrett (Supervisor)


  • teacher identity
  • teacher professionalism
  • habitus

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